Virgin Pride

Apr 03, 2003 |Sharyn Kopf

Sharyn says if you haven't had sex, you've got nothing to be shy about. Just the opposite.

I'm coming out of the closet. It's time. I'm tired of being treated differently because of how I choose to live my life.

After all, I was born this way.

That's right. I'm a member of an unappreciated minority. We're made fun of on television and in movies — presented as goofy or idiotic or nerds. It's unacceptable to be proud of our lifestyle choice. There are no parades or ribbons; no organizations to fight for our rights. We're left high and dry. Surrounded by a sea of disapproving and conflicting messages.

No one will allow us to be who we are. Just the opposite — we're encouraged (pressured from every side, really) to change. That's why we need to unite and, in the immortal words of Twisted Sister, shout, "We're not gonna take it anymore!" You may be one of us, too, but no one has ever pointed out to you the fact that you are a downtrodden minority. Allow me to shed a little candlelight on the subject.

First, though, you need to, like me, "come out of the closet" and just say it. "I'm a virgin." Or, perhaps, you've reclaimed your virginity. To put it simply, you're now committed to sexual abstinence until marriage. Come on, it's OK to admit it. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Just the opposite.

Of course, you wouldn't know it by turning on the TV. The V-word is rarely heard. And if it is, it's in a mocking context. As if anyone of sound mind and a healthy sex drive would commit to chastity. Everywhere we look we're confronted by images attacking our choice. We're coerced on every side to be sexually active, to be involved with multiple partners (at least serially, if not simultaneously), to be promiscuous in our dress and crossing boundaries in — and out of — the bedroom.

Well, I say no more! I say we storm the battlements and loudly proclaim our commitment to purity! I say we stand firm in our resolve against the pressures of those who are intolerant of our lifestyle! I say ... well, I think you get the idea.

It's ironic, really, that virgins get such a bad rap. Think about it. We're the ones who wake up in the morning, confident we've done nothing, sexually, the night before that we should feel guilty about. Many of us are among the blessed few who know we don't have an STD or HIV. I've never had to worry about being pregnant. I live a life of freedom, peace and self-respect.

And I'm the one who should be embarrassed? I'm the one who should be afraid to admit that I choose to remain untouched until the day I say "I do"? I don't think so.

But who will stand for us? Who will be our spokesperson? Britney Spears claims to be a virgin. At least she used to. Of course, she also said, and I quote: "Who really cares if I've had sex? It's nobody's business.... If I mess up, I'm human." What is she saying, that those of us who haven't messed up aren't human? But that's the impression you get, isn't it? That there's something not quite right. That we haven't truly learned how to live — we're repressed, we've got hang-ups. They come right out with it in the movie Pleasantville. The fully dressed society of the 50s is sterile, bland and black and white. Only through sexual "freedom" can they be brought to "living color." To them, sexual freedom equals emotional openness and beauty.

So we see that Hollywood — a group of people with the collective morals of guinea pigs — is certainly not on our side. The media seems to think immorality is applause-worthy. Mystery has disappeared. What was once called self-restraint is now derisively referred to as frigidity. When they use the word "virginity," it's not meant as a compliment.

The last time I remember seeing one of our kind positively portrayed on television was, I believe, back in the late 80s. I'm not saying there haven't been others since then. In fact, I recently learned there is just such a character (a young, male Christian cop) on the hour-long drama The District. So, two in 20 years — not exactly record-breaking. However, the last one I personally remember was more than a decade ago. It was the bend-the-rules drama L.A. Law, and they introduced a beautiful, committed Christian woman who unashamedly admitted she was still a virgin. The show got a lot of press as a result, but it certainly didn't lead to a spin-off series about just such a character.

Ellen comes out of the closet and she's hailed as a bold spokesperson for her, as they say, sexual orientation. One of ours makes a statement supporting abstinence and she gets scrunched up noses and confused glares. The Miss America organization told the 2002 winner, Erika Harold, to shut up about her message of chastity. "I will not be bullied," was Harold's reply and, to her credit, pageant officials quickly backed down from their narrow-minded restrictions. Still, it's clearly not politically correct to preach abstinence.

Nope, let's face it. Either we proudly proclaim that our lifestyle choice of abstinence is good and honorable and holy, and accept the consequences, come what may, or we become just like the world — indulging in a sexual free-for-all that can only lead to pain, disappointment and self-esteem decimated by the knowledge (even if it's only an undefined feeling deep down) that we've cheapened something that was meant to be so much better.

A co-worker wrote the following as a radio drama to celebrate the beauty of young womanhood, and to articulate the power of women who choose to be abstinent:

My arms
stretch over my head,
fingers reach a piece of sky
as I dance.

My legs
Walk a forgotten path
As I confidently stride
For the prize.

My fire
Is buried deep inside,
But you can see its light
In my eyes.

I'm a virgin and I can say the word.
I'm a virgin and this body is mine.
I'm a virgin and I'm not your turf
Or a pill
To kill
Your loneliness.

I'm a virgin.
I have a life.
And for right now
It's mine!

Do you sense the freedom? Do you sense the joy? It's all right there ... a gift, an honor and a decision that is yours and yours alone. And so I write down in black and white my commitment to abstinence until marriage and state unequivocally that my choice, though difficult and occasionally frustrating, is one of which I can be proud.

Copyright 2003 Sharyn Kopf. All rights reserved.

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